Surreal antics and yodel queens combine in New Cackle Sisters: Kitchen Chicken

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New Cackle Sisters: Kitchen Chicken | L’orchestre d’hommes orchestres | The Cultch | York Theatre | April 2 – 6, 2019 

Dancing chickens, spray bottles of wine, and Cheese Whiz art — just a few of the joyously weird sights in this delightful orchestra that caters to all the senses. By the end of the show, the smell of roasted chicken fills the theatre and audience members have been treated to various delicacies such as lettuce wrapped hotdogs, mashed potato cones, and cups of tea with a whipped cream rim. But it’s not what’s on the plate that’s important — it’s how it gets there.

Gabrielle Bouthillier and Jasmin Cloutier as the New Cackle Sisters, a tribute to ’30s yodel queens The Cackle Sisters, belt out endless yodel tunes all while the troupe creatively cooks up the meal; doing things like peeling potatoes with a drill and then chopping them with an ax or fishing ingredients out of a fish tank turned fridge. Although their methods may take much longer to cook anything, it is so much more fun.

After each dish was created, one of the performers exclaimed, “Service!” before bringing samples into the audience. Most people giggled nervously and tried not to make eye contact — perhaps because the strange concoctions were unappealing, or perhaps because the food safe standards on stage were questionable.

In this kitchen, how things sound is just as important as how they taste. Every object becomes part of the fun and any object could be used as an instrument at any moment. Turned over buckets, pots and pans, beaters, and raw chicken slapping a wooden cutting board combine with brass and strings to produce unique arrangements and accompaniments for the New Cackle Sisters who are unfazed by all the chaos.

The garnish on this masterpiece is the small things: throwing cocktail umbrellas across the stage into small cups, pulling multiple layers of table cloth out from the Sisters’ feet, and a wonderful gargling solo. You can’t help but smile and admire the way all the intricate details of this surrealist kitchen come together to cook up something beautiful.

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